Thursday, October 23, 2008

Meet the Sextuplets!

Many of you know that from June of 2007 to June of 2008, I did some work as a volunteer with the Eastside Egg Co-op. We harvested eggs from a flock of 50 barred rock hens who lived in a coop at Zenger Farm, and sold them at the Lents farmers' market, and to Pok Pok as well. I gave up my Thursday night shift after a year, but have remained involved with the co-op on an adjunct/pinch hitter basis. The barred rocks are almost three years old now, which means that while there are still a few miles left in the girls, their egg production is dropping. So Patrick and Holly, the chief instigators in this project, ordered up fifty chicks to serve as an eventual replacement flock. And as Patrick and Holly have their hands full with Anastasia, their recently adopted newborn Seattlite, they've farmed out the raising of these birds out to us volunteers. I took a half dozen of the four day old chicks off their hands this afternoon.

These chicks are a different breed from the hens currently out at the farm; they're called black australorps. You no doubt noticed from the photo above that they're not the yellow chicks we've all seen, but rather are mostly black. Hence the name. Once they've grown up, this is what they'll look like, as contrasted with the barred rocks we've been working with for the past year or so (black australorp on the left, barred rock on the right):

They really won't look very different from what we already have, actually. They shouldn't act much different, either. Both breeds are fairly docile and are a good choice for egg production. Here are a couple more photos of the chicks:

So I suppose the question that hangs in the air is, "What's going to happen to the current hens when they're replaced?" Some of them will make their way to backyard hobbyists, while others could conceivably end up on dinner plates; if that happens, they'll make for some tasty fricasee or cacciatore to be sure. These girls have eaten well and are as free-range as they come!


Jocelyn:McAuliflower said...

Great to see this!

They're so cute.

tommy said...

Yeah, I think they'll be fun to have around for a while.

Anonymous said...

How long do they stay with you? Until I get out there? And how is Burke reacting to them, as a future meal perhaps? LGS